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There's precisely one Pig Destroyer CD that's a really necessary purchase for the average metal fan. This is not it.
Objectively, there's not a lot of difference between this and 'Prowler In The Yard', but that release is leagues ahead of anything else the band has ever done. Musically, the band's style of modern, straightforward grindcore doesn't change a great deal between this and the second full-length. Over the span of the band's career, they moved into a slightly more death metal direction, with longer, more involved tracks in contrast to their noisy early work, but to really try and taxonomically define the difference between this release and the next in musical terms is hair-splitting of the highest order.
In some ways, '38 Counts Of Battery' feels kind of pretentious and juvenile, whereas 'Prowler In The Yard' is pretentious but has some very fine-tuned musical processes behind this. Early Pig Destroyer is like someone pushing a cellphone to the back of your head and praying you don't realize it's not a gun. The tracks are noisy and violent but the riffs aren't particularly memorable and the intensity falls flat without any real content to back it up. The pretense on later Pig Destroyer is manageable due to the professionalism, though whether it's good due to or in spite of the pretense is up in the air. On this disc it feels arrogant because the short, overly aggressive songs feel really adolescent in delivery, like all the abstract, borderline emo lyrics in the world are somehow going to make up for the fact that the songs aren't really, you know, songs.
The music is grind. It doesn't really have any elements to it apart from being grind. 'Pixie' is a boring sludge song because grind bands think making slow, long, boring songs makes them deep. The fast songs, oddly enough, manage to be just as boring, like compressed versions of the tracks on 'Phantom Limb'. I don't know if Pig Destroyer is a band that constantly threatens to reach its potential or if 'Prowler In The Yard' was just a fluke, but there's just nothing to the music on this disc. It's like the grind equivalent of Lecherous Nocturne- only good enough for people who demand nothing more from grind than to be grind. It's fast and violent, but those things alone don't really result in intensity on their own.
'38 Counts Of Battery' isn't really BAD, but it's really easy to ignore and let drone away in the background, which is a pretty dangerous thing for grind to be. I can't bring myself to really let loose on this stuff for any reasons other than petty resentment at some of the band's chosen aesthetics, but I'm always left with the feeling that not a lot of effort really went into these tracks. If you're some dedicated fan of the band, you probably already have this, but otherwise you really only need 'Prowler In The Yard' to get the meaningful creations of the band.